Egypt, third or fourth century

Revelation 1-4-7

Unearthed in the rubbish tips of the ancient city of Oxyrhynchus (south of Cairo), this fragment from a papyrus roll includes one of the earliest copies of part of the book of Revelation. It was apparently written by an early Christian living in Middle Egypt, who reused a papyrus roll of the Greek text of the book of Exodus and wrote on its blank reverse. Although the roughness of his script tells us that he was not a professional book producer, its clarity suggests that he intended his manuscript to be read by others, presumably other members of a Christian community. It is possible that he was a Jewish convert to Christianity, who had available a family copy of the Old Testament. This fragment includes St John’s opening greetings to the seven churches in Asia.

John Reeve (ed.). Sacred. British Library. 2007.